Book Reviews

The Annotated Edition of The Book of Mormon David HockingBook Reviews

David Hocking’s beautifully designed Annotated Edition of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is a treasure for bibliophiles. It is handsomely bound with gilt edges (reminiscent of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated), and is richly illustrated with high quality pictures. Hocking designed the pages with illustrations very carefully, and the high quality 8½ x 12-inch pages lie flat—with the large print making for easy reading.

Those interested in the Book of Mormon will at long last have a red-letter edition of it. Along with other helpful formatting, David Hocking has highlighted the words of Deity in red and those for quoted scripture in blue. While retaining original chapter and verse numbers, Hocking minimizes these and instead sets forth topic headings with natural paragraphs. Shaded words are used to point to insights in footnotes or separate pages. These annotations provide information about matters such as symbols of the tree of life, previously published insights, House of Israel feasts, and the Law of Moses.

Commentary, maps, and pictures, provided in good measure by Rod Meldrum, argue in favor of the heartland model of the location of places and activities depicted in the Book of Mormon. Meldrum is quoted as saying that “an interesting exercise is to insert the words ‘United States’ into prophetic passages from the Book of Mormon regarding the latter-day promised land.” However, this view is “not to be considered official Church doctrine” (xi).

Capping off its attractiveness, readability, and interesting insights, the Annotated Edition of The Book of Mormon invites people of various faiths to come more completely unto Christ. An embossed picture of the Savior is on the cover, and the last page features the picture by Clark Kelley Price, “Truly This Man Was the Son of God,” together with the prophet Abinadi’s testimony of Christ’s redemption. In addition to providing relevant quotations by general authorities, David Hocking has connected highlighted words and phrases in the text to quotations by persons such as Pope St. John Paul II, C. S. Lewis, Norman Vincent Peale, and Billy Graham.

In sum, this formatted Book of Mormon is a wonderful work of love!

Richard D. Rust


The Association of Mormon Letters full review:

Hocking, et al, “Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon” (reviewed by Sherry Ann Miller)

Reviewed by Sherry Ann Miller for the Association for Mormon Letters

I had thought to preface my review of the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon with a paragraph farther down, but something else drew my attention from within the pages of the book that seemed to call out to me. A small quotation at the bottom of page 125. This quote will, perhaps, reveal with crystal clarity the intent of the compiler and editors of the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon, by declaring what the Lord expects us to do, in regards to the words of the prophets and apostles in ancient times as well as those since the Restoration first began in 1820. Quoting from President Russell M. Nelson shortly before his call to the Apostleship, he said, “My philosophy is to stop putting question marks behind the Prophet’s statements and put exclamation points instead.“ A Study in Obedience, Ensign, August, 1982. When the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., revealed that the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, was the same area where the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed, the Prophet Joseph Smith, deserved an exclamation point. The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon declares the truth of that exclamation point admirably.

The Book of Mormon, 1920 edition, which is apparently in the public domain, is the text chosen by the compiler and editors for the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon. It is combined with the latest research from Royal Skousen’s work on the Printer’s Manuscript, and his critical text analysis leading to corrections of all known typesetting errors in past editions. The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon comes complete with the Original Manuscript differences shown in brackets [OM]. This has been very helpful, as it does contain words shown to be different, as found in the Original Manuscript that the Prophet Joseph Smith translated, from the manuscript that is known as the Printer’s Manuscript (the manuscript from which the first printing of the Book of Mormon was made). This was studied extensively by Royal Skousen as part of a project called “the Systematic Text of the Book of Mormon,” as revealed by Neal A. Maxwell in 2002. For instance, the word ‘feeling’ in the printer’s manuscript might have been revealed as ‘pressing’ in the original manuscript, or the word ‘at’ might have been ‘up’, etc. I found this very interesting as well as informative. These Original Manuscript notes in brackets nearly always brought with them clarity and understanding.

I found the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon enlightening, particularly the changing of colors within the text. Red is the color of choice for the words of the Lord, God, Father and Son. Blue is the color for the words of Angels and Heavenly Messengers, while blue italics represent the words of the Old Testament, both scripture and Prophets. Of course, black text represents the narrative. At first, I was a little surprised each time red or blue made their appearance, but I soon learned to look forward to them with pleasure. I found it quite interesting to have the Lord’s words in red, bringing them immediately to my attention, as did the blue words. I’m certain readers will find a much greater ease in the location of phrases or passages. For me, reading the red words was like saying hello to my dearest friend.

The Isaiah chapters have underlined words in them that show the differences from the King James Version Bible, so there is no need to compare, back-and-forth, between Bible and Book of Mormon. I really like that feature!

The introduction, in part, reads, “Because the Bible describes God‘s relationship with ancient people and customs in the Middle East, many commentaries have been written to explain these ancient cultures to modern readers around the world. The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon is designed to provide equivalent background information about the people whose history was recorded on the ancient manuscripts that Joseph Smith translated as the Book of Mormon.” A noble attempt was made, and a noble work accomplished. There is just so much right with the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon.

On page 35 there is an excellent photo of a Phoenician ship and a map of the route it sailed around the Cape of Africa and northwest towards Florida or the southeast portion of the United States, a likely landing spot for Lehi’s family. As a young woman, I always assumed Lehi navigated around the many islands of northern Australia, New Zealand and across the Pacific Ocean, heading nearly directly east, landing somewhere along the Pacific Coast of the Americas. But, when my children grew up and moved away, I was able to live some of my youthful dreams of becoming a sailor. Hubby and I bought a sturdy cutter-rigged sailboat, one large enough and strong enough to handle any ocean, yet small and maneuverable enough that either of us could sail it wherever we wanted. We took and passed boat safety classes and began studying waves, currents and winds, striving to become knowledgeable enough to brave any sea. It was around this time that my line of reasoning took a drastic turn as I wondered why the Lord would ever take Lehi’s family across the Pacific Ocean, bucking wind and currents all the way, when a much safer, easier route was around the southern tip of Africa, utilizing the currents and winds that would take them across the Atlantic and toward the southeastern USA. Even more importantly, the Lord would already have that useful information at his disposal since He’s the one who created the currents and prevailing winds in the beginning.

The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon also contains numerous photos and artist renderings of current archaeological sites, including the Hopewell Culture, a people who, scientists are now discovering, lived during the Nephite occupation of those areas…data that shows the Hopewell Culture vanished about 400 A.D. In Alma 50:2 there is a great description about ridges of earth with timbers on top of them. I was fascinated to see photos within the Hopewell Culture where these ridges might have been, with artists’ renditions showing how those areas would have looked two millennia ago. I found this absolutely fascinating.

In Jacob 5 is found the Prophet Zenos’ Allegory of the Tame Olive Tree. The explanatory body of notes for the chapter are very well done in the Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon, and help the reader understand the story much more easily.

The pages that follow the actual Book of Mormon portion, the Appendix, begin on page 504 with President Marion G. Romney’s personal witness that near the hill called Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, the Jaredite and Nephite nations were destroyed. The Appendix is very well done. In fact, the entire Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon proves the Hill Cumorah is exactly where the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., said from the very beginning: In New York, near a village called Palmyra. In the Appendix there are sixty pages of verifiable sources, with maps, charts, drawings, paintings and photographs proving the point that the families of Lehi and Jared occupied North America in the lands we now call the United States and parts of Canada.

Admirably, in the Appendix Mark E. Petersen refutes the two Cumorah theory (page 517). Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith confirms that Book of Mormon geography spanned the area of the USA “from the Rocky Mountains to the Hill Cumorah or eastern sea,” which statement is confirmed by James E. Talmage in “The Articles of Faith” AND “Jesus the Christ”; his statement is also confirmed by apostles and prophets George Albert Smith, Orson Pratt, Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Ezra Taft Benson, and many others. Remember that President Russell M. Nelson wanted us to put exclamation points after the words of the prophets. That counsel must apply to all the prophets, not just the prophets with whom we personally agree. The Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon is exceptionally well done, with all the correct exclamation points.


October 30, 2018

An IMAX-LIKE Book About Jesus Christ and the Americas

Duane P. Hansen

I have a large library of religious books, but The Annotated Edition of The Book of Mormon is the most Techni-colored, high-fidelity, high-definition, highly-researched, testimony-building, multi-dimensional roller-coaster ride through the religious history of ancient America (and the World for that matter). There are many, but it’s MAIN PURPOSE is to convince every reader that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, manifesting Himself to all nations. And for me it does that in a magnificent way.

It is a religious, spiritual, historical, archaeological, antiquities study all blended into one pictorially informative, easy-to-read and understand book. I have never seen or read an LDS scripture text this interestingly presented, thoroughly researched, and comprehensive. As a church leader once said: you can learn more from This Book about living an abundant and happy life, about the true nature of God and Man, the purpose of the universe and the future of this earth and all nations. And this book lights up one’s knowledge and understanding like the Texas sun in the middle of July.

All LDS families, seminary teachers and students, Sunday school teachers and fellow Christians, Priests, Pastors, evangelicals, and Rabbis can be spiritually uplifted and strengthened in their testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ by reading this Annotated Edition of the Book of Mormon.


Carol JH Weenig
November 9, 2018

I just read the previous reviews and they state everything I feel about this marvelous new Annotated Edition of The Book of Mormon. This book is a treasure trove of answers. Thank you to everyone involved in compiling, editing, formatting and the production of such a valuable book.

Christine S. Paulos
November 7, 2018
I have many religious books and many beautifully illustrated books of the LDS faith but this is one of the most beautiful, well thought out and valuable informative books I have seen. I am so very happy that I was one of the first to receive this beautiful Book of Mormon. Every LDS family should have a copy.

Andrew S. Zimmerman

November 7, 2018